In the fall when the days are warm and the nights are cool, the apples reach the peak of perfection. However, we usually pick the coldest day of autumn to go to the orchard and pick. In a strange sort of way, it is exhilarating! There's nothing like biting into a fresh ice cold apple picked right off the tree!
This year, with the kids being in school and us having other commitments most every Saturday, a trip to the orchard has not happened. Still, it does not prevent us from having our annual post apple picking dessert. My family proclaims these the ultimate apple dessert.
Old Fashioned Apple Dumplings
3 cups all purpose flour
3 3/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup vegetable shortening
3/4 cup milk
6 medium apples peeled and cored
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp white sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp butter
2 cups brown sugar
2 cups water
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 cup unsalted butter
Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl. Using a pastry blender, cut the shortening into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle in the milk and continue to combine with the pastry blender until the dough holds together to form a ball.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Generously butter a large baking dish. Lightly flour a work surface and roll the dough into a large rectangle. Cut into six squares large enough to wrap around the surface of the apples.
Place apple in the centre of each square.
Combine the sugars and 1/2 tsp cinnamon together in a small bowl. Divide the mixture evenly into six and fill each of the apple cavities with the mixture. Top with a little of the Tbsp of butter.
Wrap dough around the apple and pinch the dough together to fasten the seams. Place the dumpling 1 inch apart in the baking dish. Decorate with "leaves" made with any leftover dough.
Place two cups of brown sugar, water, 1/4 tsp cinnamon and nutmeg in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reducde the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
Remove the sauce from the heat and stir in the butter until melted. Pour the sauce over the dumplings.
Bake until tender (approximately 40 minutes), basting occasionally with the sauce. Serve the dumplings warm.